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Claiming Expenses


Claiming Expenses: Business expenditure incurred by an employee should be claimed for reimbursement using an Expense Claim form. Petty cash must not be used to reimburse individual expenses. Where possible the amounts an employee will have to advance from their own personal monies should be minimised by the use of a University credit card or by arranging for the supplier to invoice the University directly. Guidance and allowances are detailed in the links on the left.


Claims should be made regularly and:

  • before the deadline for making claims against grants, donations or other funding sources; and
  • within three months of incurring expenditure unless alternative arrangements are agreed with line managers.


The procedure for completing an expense claim is as follows.

(i) Complete the expense form that can be downloaded from this website and attach supporting evidence of expenditure e.g. receipts or bills. (This is a legislative requirement of HMRC, compliance is mandatory for the University)

(ii) Declare on the expense form any outstanding advances.
(iii) Ensure it is appropriately coded and authorised either by your lab head or other authorised member of staff.
(iv) Forward the form to the Biochemistry Accounts office.

The Department processes the form on the University Financial System (UFS) and a BACS payment is made to your bank account by the Finance Division, using the bank account details held by Payroll.  A remittance advice will be sent to your University email address.  

Provided there is sufficient funds and access to the appropriate authorising personnel you should receive your payment directly into your bank account within two weeks of receipt in the accounts office.

The Department of Biochemistry Expense Claim form (Employees Only) can be downloaded here


If you are a student or a visiting academic claiming expenses you will need to complete the Visitor & Student Expense Claim form, which can be downloaded here.

A payment run for non employee expenses is done every Friday and cheques are normally returned to Departments  for distribution to individuals.

If you have any queries please contact us:

Further guidance can be founds in the links shown on the left or by accessing the  Financial Procedures Manual 5b ‘Expenses and Benefits’, web address/link

Entertainment and taxation



For a working lunch not to be viewed as a taxable benefit then it must form an integral part of the meeting, i.e. sandwiches during a meeting where it would be unreasonable to expect people to work through lunch, or at a University catering establishment (not a College) where the cost is considered to be marginal.    The purpose of the meeting must be business related and details of the attendees and an Agenda should be provided.


  • Must be of a trivial amount, i.e. less than £5 per head
  • Must have an Agenda and details of all attendees must be included with the expenses claim.

Taxable Benefit:

  • If the meeting has been concluded and the lunch is given immediately afterwards – this cannot be classed as part of the meeting and will then become a Taxable Benefit.
  • If there is a day long event which includes a meal then the meal itself does not fall into the staff entertainment category as it is considered incidental to the rest of the event.

It is acceptable to have sandwiches during the course of a lunchtime meeting, but it is reportable and taxable if the meeting moves to a restaurant.


Business Entertainment - The provision of hospitality to non-employees (including Examiner/Collaborator dinners):

The University has charitable status and does not pay corporation tax in the same way that a normal business would, because of this all business entertaining should be liable to tax but, due to negotiations with the tax office it has been agreed that employees can be reimbursed tax free.

-          Details will be required of all those entertained, their Institutions and the purpose of the entertainment. (This is a mandatory requirement of the University’s Finance Regulations and compliance with the Inland Revenue’s legislation i.e. the reporting of all taxable benefits)

In addition, the following should be taken into account:

  • The primary purpose of the entertainment must be to entertain non-employees (including students) i.e. the simple presence of non-employees is not enough to justify a claim, their presence must be the main purpose of the event
  • There must a clear benefit to the University from providing the entertainment
  • The cost must be reasonable and not exceed evening meal subsistence rates, currently £21.00 each
  • The entertainment should not include anything other than the cost of food, a modest amount of alcohol and any incidental costs such as a taxi.

Where details of those entertained are not provided then the full cost is treated as a taxable benefit and attributed to the person actually making the claim.


The Department can spend up to £150 per person per annum on social events before declarations need to be made on the P11D but there are stipulations:


  • To qualify as a staff party a function must be open to everyone within an Identifiable Business Unit (IBU).
  • A retirement party that is open to all staff (and less than £150 per head)

Taxable Benefit:

  • A retirement meal which is only open to specific individuals
  • Staff who helped out at an Awards Ceremony (unpaid) are taken out for a meal afterwards as a thank you

If an outside academic/visitor attends the party the reason for the party needs to be looked at:

  • If the intention is to thank staff by holding a party then this will not be a Taxable Benefit if all members of the IBU are invited and the £150 per person per annum limit has not been exceeded.
  • If the intention is to entertain outside academics/visitors then it becomes “Business Entertainment”.

If an outside academic/visitor is a spouse or partner of one of the employees then the cost of that visitor is included in the £150 limit for that employee.





Further guidance is available in the Financial Procedures Manual 5b ‘Expenses and Benefits’, web address/link

Travel and subsistence allowances

Expenses Claim Form: notes on completion


Staff are required to use the most cost-effective form of transport.

This includes, for public transport, purchasing the cheapest available tickets (e.g. the appropriate rail saver or supersaver or the cheapest available flight). Wherever possible business should be arranged so that rail travel can take place in off peak periods.

For car travel, using rail or a hire car for long distance travel where the cost of these is cheaper than the mileage which would be claimed; and only using a taxi where public transport is not available.

Heads of Departments may authorise travel by means other than the cheapest where this in the interest of the University business.

As an exception to the rule above, employees may chose a more expensive form of transport where the chosen method of transport is less harmful to the environment. Typically this will involve an election to travel by train in preference to car or short haul flight.

Travel by Car

The University will pay a mileage allowance where employees use their car or motorcycle for business travel. Business travel means journeys which employees make to or from a place they have to attend in the performance of their duties but not any travel from home to a University site.

The rates of mileage are as follows:


From 1 November 2017

Travel by car (irrespective of size)

45p a mile up to 10,000 miles


25p a mile thereafter

Travel by Motorcycle

24p a mile

If the employee travels direct from home, the mileage should be the lower of:

  • The mileage actually incurred or
  • The mileage which would have been incurred if the journey had started and finished at the normal place of work.

When using a vehicle for business travel the employee must ensure that their personal insurance allows business use of the vehicle.

For travel to destinations served by rail link from Cambridge, mileage claims will be restricted to the lower of the actual mileage claim or the second class rail fare which would have been payable.

Subsistence Allowances



Current (Nov 2017)

For part of a day including lunch



For part of a day including dinner



For part of a day including lunch and dinner



For bed and breakfast



For bed and breakfast (London rate)



Allowance for staying with friends or family



The allowance for a complete period of 24 hours outside London



The allowance for a complete period of 24 hours in London



In all cases reimbursement of expenditure is restricted to the allowance or the amount spent, whichever is the less.

Heads of Departments and others who need to arrange overnight hotel accommodation in Cambridge for visitors are asked to note that the University has negotiated preferential rates, for bed and breakfast, with a number of hotels and guest houses. Information on University preferred hotels can be found in the Preferred Suppliers database and should quote the University contract reference to obtain the correct rates when making bookings.

For details of negotiated rates available to the University and Colleges for hotel accommodation in London and nationwide, please contact the Procurement Services on 32233.

For more information about travelling, please see the Travel Website :


Department of Biochemistry Expense Claim Form ( Employees Only)

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How to complete the Expense Claim for Employees

1. Name of Claimant 2. Department Address of Employee/Student or Home Address of External Claimant 3. If different from address given previously 4. Date of Travel or Period of Travel if covers Travel across several days. 5. Reason for Travel – Details of where travelled to and reason for travelling there. If you paid for more than one persons travel, please detail their name(s) here. 6. Time Travel Started 7. Time Travel Ended 8. Detail what form of transport was taken 9. Only to be filled out if you have used your own vehicle – Please make sure there is a destination postcode in the “Purpose of Journey” box as Mileage is calculated from the Department to the Destination using postcodes. 10. Total cost of Travel. 11. Expense Code/Research Grant Code you would like this to be paid from. 12. Date of Transaction – If this is accommodation, please put period the accommodation was needed for. 13. Reason for Expenditure – If accommodation please put reason for accommodation. 14. Total Cost of Expenditure 15. Expense Code/Research Grant Code you would like this to be paid from. 16. It is important that the claimant signs this and also gets authorisation from their Supervisor before this is sent to the Accounts Office. Without this authorised, it will delay the processing of the claim. It is important that these boxes are filled out correctly and neatly, so it makes it easier for us to process your claim. It is important that there is as much information as possible, as this prevents us from having to query the claim with yourselves, in turn causing the processing of the claim to be delayed.
How to complete the Expense Claim for Employees
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Visitor & Student Expense Claim Form

application/vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.spreadsheetml.sheet icon Visitor & Student Expense Claim Form..xlsx — application/vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.spreadsheetml.sheet, 65 KB (67248 bytes)